BEVERLY HILLS CHIHUAHUA (a J!-ENT Blu-ray Disc Review)
February 22, 2009 by Dennis Amith
“An enjoyable and hilarious adventure film for the whole family! I’m actually impressed of how many talents took part in the film and how many dogs were used for this film and how well everything came together. Awesome picture quality and another awesome Blu-ray release from Walt Disney Pictures.“
Images courtesy of © WDSHE. All Rights Reserved.
TITLE: BEVERLY HILLS CHIHUAHUA
DURATION: 91 minutes
BLU-RAY DISC INFORMATION: Widescreen 2:40:1, English 5.1 Uncompressed (48Khz/24-Bit), English, French, Spanish 5.1 (Dolby Digital)
COMPANY: Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment
RELEASE DATE: March 3, 2009
Directed by Raja Gosnell
Story by Jeff Bushell
Screenplay by Analisa LaBianco and Jeff Bushell
Produced by David Huberman, John Jacobs, Tod Lieberman
Executive Producer: Steve Nicolaides
Director of Photography: Phil Meheux, BSC
Music Supervisor: Buck Damon
Music Supervisor: Heitor Pereira
Costume Designer: Mariestela Fernandez
Editor: Sabrina Plisco, A.C.E.
Drew Barrymore as Chloe (Voice)
Andy Garcia as Delgado (Voice)
George Lopez as Papi (Voice)
Piper Perabo as Rachel Ashe Lynn
Jamie Lee Curtis as Aunt Viv
Manolo Cardona as Sam Cortez
Cheech Marin as Manuel (Voice)
Paul Rodriguez as Chico (Voice)
Placido Domingo as Monte (Voice)
Edward James Olmos as Diablo (Voice)
Disney’s hilarious fun-filled adventure is even more exciting on Disney Blu-ray.
It all begins when Chloe (voiced by Drew Barrymore), a diamond-clad ultra-pampered Beverly Hills Chihuahua, gets lost while on vacation in Mexico. Papi (voiced by George Lopez), an amusing Chihuahua who’s crazy about Chloe gets help from Delgado (voiced by Andy Garcia), her newfound friend and self-appointed protector. Beverly Hills Chihuahua from Walt Disney Pictures is a heartwarming and outrageously funny tale proving once again that good things come in small packages. It’s a real treat for the whole family – especially in Blu-ray High Definition.
Walt Disney has had success with their canine films, especially since their 1997 film “Air Bud” and recently with their “Buddies” (talking puppies) films that utilize special effects showcasing the mouth movements with the voice work.
As many of those films were direct-to-video, Walt Disney Pictures took things up a notch by having “Beverly Hills Chihuahua” as a feature film and taking things to a new level in this enjoyable, family/adventure film starring a talented cast which includes Drew Barrymore, Jamie Lee Curtis, George Lopez, Piper Perabo, Andy Garcia, Manolo Cardona, Cheech Marin, Paul Rodriguez, Placido Domingo, Edward James Olmos and many other talents.
And on one end of the spectrum, you have these well-known talented human actors but “Beverly Hills Chihuahua” probably features the most canine talent anyone probably will see in a film.
And sure enough, the film resonated well with audiences in Fall 2008 taking the #1 spot in the box office and grossing over $29 million in its first weekend beating out major heavy hitters. But can a film about chihuahuas really be that entertaining? Definitely.
In this film, popular and very wealthy designer Aunt Viv (played by Jamie Lee Curtis) is a very loving mother of her white chihuahua named Chloe (voiced by Drew Barrymore). Viv loves to spoil Chloe with expensive food, expensive clothing and even bought her a diamond necklace.
Chloe and her other canine friends are extremely pampered and like to sit around the large pool area catching some rays.
Meanwhile, landscaper Sam Cortez (Manolo Cardona) is busy taking care of the plants around Viv’s mansion and his dog Papi (voiced by George Lopez) is in love with Chloe. But because he’s always working on landscape and totally out of Chloe’s league, she dismisses him.
Meanwhile, Rachel Ashe Lynn (played by Piper Perabo) visits her aunt Viv. Not being able to hold a job, Viv needs her to watch Chloe for a few days as she needs to go on business travel.
Rachel really can’t stand how her aunt spoils and spends so much on a dog but she knows that Chloe means everything to her aunt. So, she agrees to take care of Chloe.
As for Chloe, she can’t stand Rachel and looks down on her.
While Aunt Viv is gone, Rachel invites her two friends to sunbath at her aunt’s home. Rachel complains to her friends how her aunt overly cares for Chloe and how pampered they are for pets. But then, Papi who is always trying to impress Chloe, ends up jumping on their lawn chairs and gets it dirty. Rachel then gives the landscaper a piece of her mind and judges him as a person who can’t speak English, so Sam plays along with her and only speaks in Spanish.
But Rachel doesn’t want to be tied at home taking care of Chloe, so she and her friends decide to go to Mexico and have some fun!
So, while the ladies go out to have some fun and enjoy their nightlife and date with guys, Chloe who is ticked that Rachel is feeding her canned dog food decides to leave the apartment.
While walking around Mexico, Chloe is kidnapped by dog thieves and taken far to another area in Mexico where the kidnapped dogs are used for dog fights.
Sporting her expensive outfit, Chloe meets a few of the dogs who are caged and are scared to get involved in fights. She befriends a German shepherd named Delgado (voice by Andy Garcia).
And with Chloe’s unfortunate luck, she is put up against the killer and very mean doberman pinscher named Diablo (voice by Edward James Olmos), a dog owned by the person who organizes the dog fights. But before she is about to be mauled by Diablo, Delgado manages to free himself and two others and rescues Chloe. As for the owner of Diablo, he notices that Chloe is wearing a diamond necklace and wants it. Thus the thugs all go after the dogs. Even going so far of putting a tracking device on Diablo as he searches for Chloe via her scene (she is sporting Chanel No. 5).
Meanwhile, Rachel is desperate and knowing that Chloe is lost (and knowing how much she means to her Aunt Viv) goes through Mexico dog pounds and police stations trying to find her. Her friends go back to Beverly Hills to find photos of Chloe to use for wanted pictures and Sam suspects something is wrong.
Eventually Sam and Papi join up with Rachel and go through Mexico looking for Chloe.
So, the film becomes an all-out adventure as we watch Delgado and Chloe go through Mexico trying to avoid the doberman Diablo and eventually hoping to find a way to have Chloe return back to Beverly Hills. But throughout the way, they run into other animals such as the swindling rat Manuel (played by Cheech Marin) and his iguana friend Chico (played by Paul Rodriguez) who wants Chloe’s diamond necklace as well.
Chloe who doesn’t exactly have any street smarts is in desperate need of Delgado’s help and Delgado knows that with Diablo after her, he will need to be her protector. And the same thing goes for Rachel, who can’t get the Mexican police to take her seriously but with the help of Sam and Papi, going all over Mexico, perhaps their adventure will lead them to Chloe.
An enjoyable and hilarious adventure film, “Beverly Hills Chihuahua” features a talented cast and possibly a film that utilizes the most dogs I have ever seen in a film. In one scene, while Delgado and Chloe are in a canyon area, they run into an army of chihuahuas that reside at an Inca-like temple and there are possibly a hundred of them. Granted, many are computer generated but when you watch the special features, they utilize a lot of dogs in the film that it’s actually amazing how they made certain scenes work (no matter how trained the dogs are, what was accomplished is quite impressive).
VIDEO & AUDIO:
I have to give credit to Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment because their Blu-ray disc releases have been phenomenal in terms of picture and audio quality. The same can be said for “Beverly Hills Chihuahua” which features the dogs outdoors quite a bit in Los Angeles and Mexico. Video is presented in 1080p High Definition with an aspect ratio of 2:40:1.
From the blue skies, amber sun, and various locations of where the film was shot, the picture quality was great!
The audio quality is also very good. At English 5.1 uncompressed (48 kHz/24-Bit) audio, the film relies mostly on dialogue and music which comes out radiantly clear on your front channel speakers but there are times where you hear the special effects utilized in the rear channels as well. You can hear the vocals clearly, so overall, the audio quality was very good!
“Beverly Hills Chihuahua” contains a good number of special features that are exclusive to Blu-ray.
- Pet Pals: The Voices Behind the Dogs – A very good special feature with interviews with Drew Barrymore, George Lopez, Andy Garcia, Cheech Marin, Paul Rodriguez, Placido Domingo, Edward James Olmos and more. The talent talk about their role and talking about the dogs that they own. Afterwards is a segment featuring Drew Barrymore and the charity organization that she works with about rescued dogs.
- Hitting Their Bark: On Set with the Dogs of BHC – This featurette goes into the making of the film and you can literally see how many dogs were used on the film and how certain scenes were accomplished. I was amazed of how bright the dog that plays Chloe was. Hitting her mark and a great job for a canine in the film. The same can be said with the others. Of course, there were challenges such as placing Chloe on top of Delgado’s head/back. You could tell the dog that plays Delgado wanted none of that. But overall, a very impressive featurette because I can imagine how challenging it was to make everything come together for this film.
- More Deleted Scenes with Introductions by Director Raja Gosnell – 45 minutes of deleted scenes and each scene was introduced by the director. What’s amazing is that the scenes cut were actually quite major but I can tell for pacing and time reasons, they needed to really stay at 91 minutes, I don’t think fidgety children would watch two hours or more. So, great idea to trim it down but the type of footage featured, I can imagine how difficult things it was to cut because one cut went into explaining more about Rachel’s character and how she’s been unsuccessful in finding a job. But the scenes that were largely cut were the scenes that focused on the chihuahuas and their ancestry and the original script was more on that and more spiritual in that these chihuahuas will be watched over by the ghost of their ancestors. So, a lot of deviation from the original script but the director made the right cuts.
- Blooper Scooper – Not bloopers per se but more of behind-the-scenes fun with the dogs and the cast and crew. A fun special feature.
- Legend of the Chihuahua Animated Short – A short about the history of Chihuahuas but it becomes more of a fun animated scene about the chihuahua not being denied and how far they have come for a dog species.
- Feature Audio Commentary by Director Raja Gosnell
- The following utilizes BD Live (Music Chat, Movie Mail, Movie Challenge and Disney Movie Rewards Live)
“Beverly Hills Chihuahua” is a fun and enjoyable action film that the whole family can enjoy.
The film was a success grossing over $29 million in its opening weekend and $117 million worldwide (beating out the terrorism thriller “Body of Lies” starring Leonardo DiCaprio and Russell Crowe). So, it’s quite obvious that the film resonated well with the movie audience and as some film critics have mentioned, with the state of our economy, sometimes you need a lighthearted film to make you laugh.
And this film will make you laugh as it features comedic talents such as Cheech Marin, Paul Rodriguez and George Lopez and then you have a good amount of talent with Jamie Lee Curtis, Drew Barrymore, Piper Perabo, Andy Garcia, Manolo Cardona, Edward James Olmos and many others involved. Having all these talents and also well-known Latino talent together for a Disney film, that’s wonderful!
Quite a bit of Disney CG magic in this film with their technology of the canines talking and matching the actual words they are speaking. Also, certain CG such as the introduction of an actual rat who works with an iguana, an army of chihuahuas to a scene where Delgado and Chloe face off against mountain lions. But I have to admit that the crew did an amazing job because those scenes look quite realistic.
One thing I also found pretty cool was the score. Composer Heitor Pereira did a wonderful job as did the 57-piece Hollywood Studio Symphony conducted by Nick Glennie-Smith!
If anything, I was surprised because I have been reviewed and watch the “Buddies” films with the talking canines and they typically have been direct-to-video. But to watch a feature film with all this talent, the different locations where the film was shot, musical score and of course, the amazing CG work, I was quite impressed.
Also, what Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment has done to add so much of these awesome special features as Blu-ray exclusives is wonderful! The awesome picture and audio quality continues their dedication to Blu-ray and again, another great BD release!
I know it seems odd for those not familiar to the Disney canine films and wonder, are these films worth it? So, far every Disney film with the talking canines have been great family films thus far. And “Beverly Hills Chihuahua” is another one that continues that tradition.
The film is rated PG and of course, a large doberman pinscher going after a defenseless chihuahua may seem scary to younger children but overall, I had my six-year-old with me and he was really enjoying the film and laughing aloud at certain scenes.
Of course, these types of films may not be for everyone but if you have children and are looking for a film that the family can enjoy together, definitely give “Beverly Hills Chihuahua” a try!
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